Strong Willed Child or Dreamer

I have never read any parenting books before but I bought this one on a recommendation (.13 on amazon)!  
While I dont really believe in labeling your children (in the same way that I dont really get into labeling my parenting style) I think its really important as parents to do our best to understand our children, their personalities, their needs, wants, etc on a personal level instead of just having a "this is whats best for children" mentality. Each child is so so different and requires you to parent, respond, interact, entertain in such different ways. 

For example, I hate routine. Any kind really. I find it super mundane and really prefer to drift, never quite sure what the next day holds. I hate making plans and sticking to them or being nailed down to something. However I have been realizing that this has been coming through in my parenting. Routine is super important to children and Cruz thrives on it. I had to understand that even though my son is only 2, I needed to start paying more attention to who he was and and that even if I had a preconceived notion about the way things should be, it was more important to watch him and his cues as a way to understand the best means of parenting him in particular. Its easy to file children away into certain groups like "strong willed" or "stubborn" when that may not be the case at all.  I embrace that he is his own unique person but realized that I needed to put more effort and attention into understand his personality and the things that work well for it. 

I am interested to see what this books hold. Do you guys read any parenting books or have any suggestions on the subject?


Busy Busy Busy. 

It was Cruz's birthday and then mine (our birthdays are five days apart). I am pretty sure Cruz thinks that its all just one big birthday for him because usually we do a little something fun on his actual birthday and sing and do presents. Then we have a little family party that weekend. And then at some point in the week I get a cake and a happy birthday song for my birthday, but Cruz obviously thinks its for him. So I think he might grow up under the impressions that birthday celebrations are a week long instead of just a day. Oh well, I always love a good excuse to celebrate my boy a little extra. 

I am off to make valentines and red velvet cupcakes for my own sweet valentine. 

*the valentine I made for Cruz. 
My first attempt at drawing with Illustrator. I've since decided its just not my strong suit. 


Etsy Love

I ordered these two little vintage kitchen sets for Cruz's kitchen from here. I am so excited and I can't wait for them to get here. Hopefully in time for his birthday party because I think I am going to give him the rest of his presents on his actual birthday (I am so awful, I can almost never wait to give him his presents. He got a good 1/4 of his Christmas presents early because I am just addicted to that little smile of his). The rest of his gifts are all art supplies and crafts because he really plays with those things so much more then actual toys.

 only $6.00 for this whole lot!
and $4.00 for this one! Love etsy!

I also really wanted one of these for his kitchen, but I just couldnt afford it with the rest of his gifts. Maybe next year!


Birthday Presents

For Cruz's birthday this year I decided to flesh out his play kitchen because it is his favorite thing and we spend countless hours playing there. His new favorite kitchen thing to do is play with spices, probably because he sees me using them almost every night when I am making dinner.

Well, last week he wanted to pour cream of tar tar in the coffee pot which I usually wouldn't care about but I had just bought the spice for making playdough and I didnt want him to spill it all. So in a moment of genius I decided to let him play with the only spice that I happen to have two of...cinnamon.

Fast forward about 15 minutes and everything, everything is coated in cinnamon. For those of you who dont know, it irritates/burns your skin. Cruz and I were covered in bright right splotches all evening. It also coats the inside of your nose and stays put for a good long time causing you to go into coughing/sneezing fits at frequent intervals.

Needless to say it was not my best move. But it did inspire me to come up with a way to satisfy Cruz's desire to play with spices without sacrificing my ability to smell anything for several days.

So this little project was born. I made them as a birthday gift and I can't wait to see if he likes them.

I thought glitter was a good representation of "spices" plus they come in little jars with tops just like spice jars. I got these at Michael's but you can get glitter at almost any craft store.

I took the original label off of one jar to use as a template. I taped it down on the paper and then folded the paper over several times (I made 4 labels, so 4 times) so that I could cut them all at once.

I used butcher paper from the thrift store that I had laying around. Its pretty thin so I had to tape it down to keep it from moving around. It made it much easier to paint.

You can get creative with the labels. We have a lot of McCormick spices so I was sort of trying to emulate that look with the stripe. 

Let the paint dry. During this time I put the chickens in, burnt my dinner, ate my burnt dinner anyways, folded Cruz laundry, tripped over the dog and went to the bathroom. 

 After it dried I wrote the spice names with a thin, black sharpie. Again, get as creative as you want. I made "pepper" for the silver sparkles, "cream of tartar" for the white, "cinnamon" for the red and "coriander" for the gold. 

ed: this post was written in advance and scheduled for today which is actually Cruz's birthday! We are most likely in San Francisco at the kid museum and Cruz may or may not have already opened this gift. I will be sure to let you know how he likes them!


Toddler Activities

Keeping little hands busy during these long, cold days is crucial.
Here is one Cruzy really liked.

We used:
 cotton balls as "snowballs"
a bowl to hold the cotton balls
a little scoop to used for transferring
an icetray to fill 

I showed him how to use the scoop to put one ball in each little slot.

He used his hands when he was struggling with the scoop. 

He did well and enjoyed it. He got more then one in some slots but he made sure each one had some. 

Do you have any fun toddler activities that your little ones like to do?
Also, I have been searching everywhere to find some toddler sized tongs to use in place of scoops and spoons and I can't seem to find them anywhere. Any ideas?


Free Rangin'

This week marked the start of our chickens beginning to free range. We had a small massacre take place a little bit ago and the only survivor was the rooster, Lennox. After getting a couple of hens, I kept them in their run until they started bonding and becoming a flock because I was afraid that they wouldn't free range together and that they would run off. Also, I was training them to come to the sound of Cruz or I calling "chicken" which has been successful as they associate it with expecting scratch (dessert for chickens). And lastly, there are quite a few free range flocks on the neighboring farms who range far and wide and I wanted to make sure my ladies (and guy) were united enough that they wouldnt get bullied if/when they ran into other chickens on the road (only in the country do you have such worries!)

At first, everyone was a little unsure. The chicks didnt want to come out of their run and Cruz was not at all happy that his chickens werent where they were supposed to be. He was awfully confused and ran around yelling at them and pointing his finger telling them to get back in their coop. 

 *my 50 pd bag of feed that got left out in the storm and is now fertilizer. fail. 

Finally everything calmed down enough for Cruz to show me his belly and request a picture of his favorite rainboots. Funny guy.

And the chickens greatly enjoyed their free ranging and were back in their coop promptly at sundown. They are now enjoying a happy, leisurely life as one of the many free ranging flocks in these here parts. 


Monkey Baby

If you follow me on instagram then you have already seen these pictures, but he is such a funny little dude that I wanted to post it here. 

He started here. I left to go do the dishes...

and came out to this kid. 

I was gone about 2 1/2 mins and I can clearly see and hear into the living room from the kitchen. So he did this quietly and stealthily.

He never, ever stops cracking me up. 


On Nursing Toddlers and Other Terrifying Acts

With Cruz's 2nd birthday right around the corner, I thought I would answer one of the questions I get asked most online as well as in real life "are you still nursing" and "when do you plan to stop?"

Both answers are pretty simple. Yes, I'm still nursing. And I dont really have a game plan around stopping. My thought has always been that we will just continue doing what we do until it feels like the right time to stop. To that answer, I usually always get the same response "hmmmm..." People never really seem to know what to say. Which doesn't really bother me much.

 I don't know many people who breastfeed their babies past 12-18 months but it doesnt really make much difference to me. I also dont know anyone who climbs into the bath fully clothed just to make their toddler laugh, but that didnt stop me from doing it. I dont know anyone who has had a sheet fort up around their bed for 3 weeks, but thats where you will find Cruz and I sleeping as of late. I don't know one single person who has the same sweater that I am wearing right now, however that would never stop me from wearing it...I like it. And thats pretty much my view on breastfeeding; I very rarely do things in my life simply because others approve or disapprove of it so why wouldn't the same be true of breastfeeding. Cruz likes it, I like it, simple stuff.

That being said, nursing a toddler is much different then nursing a newborn. At times it feels more like a defensive sport then a bonding experience or nutritional encounter. Sometimes Cruz is sweet as pie and lays still, looking up at me and smiling and making me the happiest mama in the world. Other times he bounces all over, whips his head around to look at something in the opposite direction or thinks that it might be a really good idea if he nurses with his feet on my shoulder. To be blunt, at times, its painful. But so much more than worth it in my opinion.

A little nursling in big boy undies

Just to clarify, as much as I dont appreciate judgement, I also dont judge others. I have zero thoughts or opinions about how it works for others mamas and babies. If you do breastfeed, if you dont, if you try, if you never want to think about it, its all the same to me. I think you should at least give it a try, but if you dont, that doesnt change my opinion at all. And I respect that choice just the same as well. I don't like people who breastfeed more then people who dont. I dont hold them in higher regard. If there is one thing I believe in this world, its to live and let live. To each their own. Everyone deserves that respect, so please be respectful.


I had no idea it was possible to love someone so much.


Like I mentioned we are pretty under the weather this week. Its only fitting seeing as I started school and Cruz's birthday is just around the corner. I always seem to get sick when important things are looming. 

This little sicky has been enjoying much Toy Story 3 on the laptop. In bed. With popsicles.

He is so funny. This little man is obsessed with Woody in every way possible. More so his hat then anything. There is about a 20-30 minute segment in the middle of the movie where Woody looses his hat and Cruz makes me fast forward through the whole thing until he gets his hat back. He taps his head and says "HA. GO" aka "Woody lost his hat, please go to the part where he gets it back."

I just love this little boy so dang much. I'm so lucky to be his mama. 

And speaking of haircuts, Cruz's Dad cut his hair the other night without telling me. He drove up and I opened the door to get Cruz out of the car and there sat my little boy with significantly less hair then I had dropped him off with. I cried far more then I care to admit. 



I just chopped my bangs right off in my bathroom this morning.



We are quite sick around these parts this week so excuse the lack of any beautification on my part.



School starts again today. 

If you never, ever hear from me again its probably because my brain imploded. 


I very rarely ever get lonely. 

But sometimes I do feel very sad that I miss moments like these. 

I wont ever get to see my son with his Papa.

I wont ever get to see what their relationship looks like. How its grows, changes.

I wish, very much, that it were different. 



This wild and crazy (almost) 2 year old of mine is a very busy guy these days. Quiet activities are usually a bust and sitting still for any length of time is more than out of the question. 

For the most part, I painted the egg carton and Cruz painted the wood pile behind us. Its all one and the same to him. 

We attempted to collect some similar color objects from around the yard to fill the carton, but had to abandon it half way through to break up a chicken squabble and then head to kindergym. We will get back to it later today. 

I've been attempting to get Cruz involved in a lot more programs and activities outside of the house lately. It helps a ton with burning his energy as well as directing his attention toward education and exercise vs the god forsaken television at home (one of his favorite shows is "My Name is Earl." He actually says "Eawl" when he wants to watch. Wonder who's fault that is...) 
I used to go to this play gym as a child so its lots of fun to watch Cruz play here as well.

I've also looked into signing him up for a Momma and me nursery school on Friday mornings. Coincidentally, it is the same nursery school I went to when I was his age. Seeing as it wasn't so very long ago that I was a child myself, I find that there are lots of places/experiences/programs that I was involved in when I was young that are still around for Cruz. It's one of the many fun little perk of having a child when you are not so far from being one yourself--Although I do truly belief this about childhood:

photo via (adaptations by me)



I watched The Help earlier this week. 

I took so much away from it, more than I can articulate in this post.

But I can articulate just how much I loved this quote. 

It was an awesome reminder about how important it is to tell your kids that they are important

Its such a simple concept and I think about how important Cruz is to me every single day. But it never quite occurred to me to tell him that one simple word. I tell him how sweet he is. How smart. How cute. But not of his importance. 

I believe in loving and encouraging your children to the fullest. But more than anything I believe its important to instill in your children the ability to be proud and loving and encouraging of themselves. To not have to seek the approval of others in order to be fulfilled. That if they love and respect themselves, outside influence can never have any real or harmful affects on them. 

So today and everyday I will make sure that my son knows and hears that he is important.
To me.
To the world
And most importantly, to himself. 


Dinner Party

I have been seeing this idea bouncing around the blogosphere lately and while I dont usually participate in them, I thought this one was a fun one:

If you could throw a dinner party for any 10 people, dead or alive, who would it be?

Its actually harder to come up with then you might think, but here are the 10 people who I think would make the most interesting group for dinner party:

Janis Joplin
What can I say, I just love her. I think we would have been kindred spirits.

William Sidis
Who in there right mind wouldn't want to meet a child prodigy?

Amos Lee
For no other reason then I love his music. 

Bob Marley
What kind of party would it be if at least one person wasn't high out of their mind. 
Maybe I'm just being nostalgic of High School/College.

Richard Pryor:
For obvious reasons

Mahatma Gandhi:
You couldn't really not invite Gandhi to a dinner party.
 Plus, he would balance out Richard and Bob.

Sigmund Freud:
Not because I necessarily agree or disagree with his theories, but every party needs a little pyscho-babble. Plus, if things got dull, he could psychoanalyze us all which could be interesting/tragic.

 William Addison Dwiggins:
Since I love (and am majoring in) Graphic Design, this is the man who coined the term "Graphic Design" and was an incredible designer in his time. I'd love to see his artistic genius at work. 
Plus, he was the first old man to rock a faux hawk, so...

Steve Carell:
Because I desperately miss Michael Scott.

E. E. Cummings:
One of my very favorite poets. 
His use and manipulation of the English language is both confusing and captivating to me.

And this kid:
He technically makes 11, but its just never as fun with out this guy around to share it with.